STAYCATION SPECIAL – St Martin’s Lane, Covent Garden
The idea that a romantic London staycation requires quaint afternoon teas, grandiose hotel furnishings and a doorman called Gerald is confidently undercut by St Martin’s Lane. This place is where sexy, sparky and affluent young professionals head for a modern, New York-esque minibreak; where the bedrooms are ‘high concept design’ (translation: slick), the restaurant is Latin-Asian fusion and the doorman would look more comfortable adorning the entrance of an Abercrombie store.
The lobby is minimalist with enough bold touches – gold stools, neon lighting – to add artsy character.
The rooms – sharp corners, pure white, floor to ceiling windows – have the added bonus of a multitude of multi-coloured options, transforming the bed arena from red to blue to green to purple depending on the sort of mood you’re trying to set.
In sharp contrast to the rooms a trad 5* hotel might offer up, stepping into a suite here feels like you’re housesitting for a Broadway producer – rather than a cheeky borrowed moment in a grand old Duke’s guestroom. This isn’t British hospitality darling, it’s Nylon.
Dinner is taken in Asia de Cuba but there’s no reason to deny yourself the room service experience as well. Check in at 4pm and order a pot of tea, won ton soup (light, piping hot, well spiced, divine) and bottle of champagne. Warm up, perk up, drink up.
Before dinner, head to the dark and velvety bar Blind Spot. She’ll have a Dirty Martini with Tanqueray Ten, he’s on the Aperol Rich (Aperol, Veuve Clicquot Rich, soda water, orange slice).
Move into the restaurant slightly tipsy, and ready to get your eat on. Instead of a bottle of wine, work by the glass – the heavy drinking can be done back in the bar later. For starters, the unmissables are red snapper ceviche with Thai chilli, slow braised short rib spring rolls and crispy octopus with garlic chips. Then for mains, crispy calamari salad, black cod with avocado puree, the INSANE lobster mash and some token greens. Share everything and end the meal with a guava whipped structured cheesecake.
It’s Friday afternoon and the two of you have taken the afternoon off work. You pack a small bag and agree to meet at The Library Club for a pre-staycation cocktail at 3pm. One cocktail down, you cross the road and check into St Martin’s.
You’ve called ahead so rose petals are strewn around the bed and there’s a welcome note. Your beau is impressed. To freshen up, you draw a bath and sip on champagne while in it. You then robe up, eat some soup and put on a film while you wait ‘til your 9pm reservation.
At 8pm you start to get ready – crisp white shirt, little black dress, cologne, high heels. Then to drinks and dinner. Over order but don’t finish everything for the sake of it – eat morsels and make sure you’re not too full to flirt. Debate going back into Blind Spot; change your mind and head upstairs. Put the lights onto red mode and spoon to RnB. Drift off, wake up, hook up, fall asleep.
Take a joint shower in the morning and make your way downstairs to a brunch of avocado toast, black coffee and grapefruit juice. OR, if you’re desperate for your stay to be extended just that little bit longer, opt for the Breakfast in the Fields (two eggs as you like, grilled halloumi cheese, avocado, roasted tomato, mushrooms, grilled asparagus) from the brunch menu.
Check out at midday and Uber back to reality.
It’s certainly not cheap (from £300) but worth every single penny for looks, food and staff charm alone.